Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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Clinton, Obama mining Africa for PR gold


Obama takes HIV test with wife in Kenya, both negative

Times weighs in, mounts propaganda blitz

Last week, ABC 20/20 showed us that blacks in the US, especially down South, are in an uproar over their new status as the key expansion sector of the domestic ARV market. Jesse Jackson took an HIV test (negative) and marveled at the 5.2 million people positive in South Africa. Preachers complained that the Bible was no guide, HIV not being mentioned.

But the real HIV∫AIDS propaganda activity currently among blacks is overseas, with the message carried to Africa by two of the most glamorous US politicians on stage today, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The efforts of both were magnified by the lens of Times coverage, which offered much reinforcement of the paradigm in word and picture (Evelyn Hockstein took good photos for the Times).

Both Clinton and Obama toured to ecstatic crowds, according to the Times reporters.

Inside the rural hospital here that he recently helped renovate, where Rwandans were hunted down and killed during the genocide he regrets he didn—™t try to stop as president, Mr. Clinton heard people once skeletal from AIDS tell of their resurrections to robust health.

Yesterday a lengthy Times front page article covered the topic of Clinton and AIDS with much overt endorsement of the paradigm, including a picture from Rwanda of John Gumiriza, restored to health and standing by a photo taken of him in skeletal condition in 2005, “before he started taking antiretroviral drugs, which have been provided to him and others at reduced cost.”

Persuasive evidence indeed, for most readers, right before their eyes, for the blessings of ARVs aimed at the dire threat of HIV, unless it occurs to them that perhaps adequate food was included in the package.

According to our reading of the mainstream literature on HIV?AIDS, which his advisory staff has yet to read and understand it seems, Mr Clinton is now a major menace to the health of Africans, as he is intent on bringing ARVs to as many as possible in Africa, and has the friends to do it, including now Bill Gates. To this effort he brings all his expanding enthusiasm for doing self promotional good in the world and making his reputation safe with posterity, but none of the mental alertness which won him a Rhodes scholarship in his youth, nor any of the sophisticated cynicism which he must have accumulated in achieving the Presidency, and surviving impeachment.

Since he left office more than five years ago at age 54, one of the youngest former presidents ever, Mr. Clinton has made a lasting mark in a cause that he came to only late in his presidency: fighting the AIDS pandemic across Africa and the world.

Few public figures in America have spawned as much speculation about what motivates them as Mr. Clinton. Abroad, even fewer inspire the affectionate reception Mr. Clinton received as he raced across seven African countries in eight days in July. Crowds at roadsides and in hospitals wanted to touch him —” and he obliged by shaking hands, kissing babies and hugging people with AIDS….

But on this trip, Mr. Clinton seemed anything but a man tormented by guilt. Rather, he reveled in his role as a private citizen championing people with AIDS.

In this euphoric mood of serve-the-public self-importance there is clearly no room for naysayers, especially ones which question the entire premise of what he is doing. Not that any of them could get near him. Just like the other Bill, he is surrounded by a phalanx of paradigm guardians who will make sure that Mbeki or any other skeptic doesn’t dent his faith:

When doctors specializing in public health met him at the William J. Clinton Foundation in Harlem in the fall of 2002, Howard Hiatt, the former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, bluntly asked Mr. Clinton why those present should expect that —œyou—™ll be able to accomplish now what you didn—™t undertake in your presidency —” an attack on this plague?—?

—œEveryone was worried,—? said Richard Marlink, who headed Harvard—™s AIDS Institute. —œIs this a campaign with photo ops and press releases or a long-term commitment?—?

In the years since, doctors at the forefront of AIDS treatment have worked with Mr. Clinton…

Result: for the foreseeable future more and cheaper ARVs will flow into grateful African hands and veins and it does not seem impossible that a Nobel peace prize will result.

His foundation also has negotiated steep cuts in the price of AIDS medicines through deals with drug companies that cover more than 400,000 patients in dozens of countries, helping propel momentum for treatment of the destitute…

The Clinton foundation—™s budget last year was $30 million, raised from private donors. Mr. Clinton, who oversees its operations full time, has plunged into many causes, from childhood obesity to tsunami relief to global warming, but he has made his most substantive contribution on AIDS…

The only criticism come from people who say he should have acted earlier, but they forgive him for it in the light of his recent performance. One reliable commentator drawn on by the reporter Celia Dugger is young Greg Behrman, who might be called the Laurie Garrett of HIV?AIDS.

The debate over whether Mr. Clinton missed a political opportunity to lead the charge on global AIDS years before Mr. Bush seized it is far from over.

Greg Behrman, the author of —œThe Invisible People: How the U.S. Has Slept Through the Global AIDS Pandemic, the Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe of Our Time,—? offers a split verdict.

—œThere are two acts here,—? he said. —œClinton—™s post-presidential leadership has been extraordinary. As president, though, the record is clear. Clinton was not a leader on global AIDS and the consequences have been devastating.—?

We met Greg last year, when he published his book by expanding his thesis at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes scholar. Asked how he checked the science he was relying on, Greg told us that he had merely relied on what he was told, and hadn’t checked it at all. We told him several times over a period of weeks that perhaps he should go backstage and check things out, but he merely laughed, of course. His book was done and out at that point, and he was interested in publicity.

What was he supposed to do, withdraw it and rewrite it? No, the only thing he was interested in was whether dissenters posed any threat to his book, so we warned him (this was last summer) that Celia Farber’s article was due to come out at some point in a major magazine. None of this mattered, the book was glowingly reviewed in the Times as “well researched” and Greg is now family with the Council of Foreign Relations, fellow alarmist Laurie Garrett’s berth.

Article Tools Sponsored By
By SHERI FINK
Published: July 13, 2004

THE INVISIBLE PEOPLE
How the U.S. Has Slept Through the Global AIDS Pandemic, the Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe of Our Time
By Greg Behrman
352 pages. Free Press. $25.

MOVING MOUNTAINS
The Race to Treat Global AIDS
By Anne-Christine d’Adesky
487 pages. Verso. $30

In ”The Invisible People,” Greg Behrman, an AIDS policy coordinator for the Council on Foreign Relations, tracks anemic global AIDS spending through several American administrations, profiling a dizzying array of power brokers. Anne-Christine d’Adesky’s ”Moving Mountains” — by turns journalistic, textbook-like and polemical — discusses the myriad obstacles to preventing and treating AIDS in poor countries but highlights successes that prove it is possible. (Many of these issues are being discussed this week at the 15th International Aids Conference in Bangkok.)

”The Invisible People” grew from Mr. Behrman’s Oxford University master’s degree research on the H.I.V./AIDS pandemic as a threat to American national security. Noting that life expectancy in several African countries had dropped by more than 30 years and that the disease was spreading quickly in Asia and Eastern Europe, he began to wonder, ”What had the United States done to address this crisis?”

Mr. Behrman writes that as the disease emerged in the Ronald Reagan years of the 1980’s, conservative leaders imposed ”a vituperative, ill-informed brand of moralism on policy, making it clear to the administration that there would be a political price to pay for engaging AIDS.” The opening act in the global AIDS tragedy revealed the government’s misguidedly self-interested objective: it banned foreigners with H.I.V. from entering the United States, a policy with little public health merit that remains on the books today.

Money is Mr. Behrman’s useful but necessarily limited gauge of global AIDS-fighting commitment. From 1990 to 1999, as tens of millions of H.I.V. infections accrued worldwide, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa, American spending on global AIDS inched to $215 million from $100 million during the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. By comparison, the United States, with roughly one million citizens infected over the decade, invested up to $10.6 billion a year to combat the domestic epidemic.

Well researched and unsparing, ”The Invisible People” presents many of the more maddening and inexcusable reasons for the languishing American response to global AIDS in the 1990’s, including Congressional antagonism to foreign aid spending, ”passive racism,” and disarray among United Nations health officials, who failed to offer plausible global figures on H.I.V. prevalence until 1998. Mr. Behrman also points to the early silence of domestic AIDS activists, African-American leaders and heads of countries being ravaged by the disease, although he fails to suggest what types of health programs could have been used to fight global AIDS before effective treatments existed.

The Clinton administration takes the biggest beating in ”The Invisible People” for not recalibrating American spending, for not viewing AIDS as a global security threat and for opposing South Africa’s move to obtain low-cost generic antiretroviral medication. Inequities in drug access galvanized pioneers like Dr. Paul Farmer, Doctors Without Borders and the Brazilian government to prove what should not have needed to be proved: that residents of lower-income countries benefit from treatment and also often adhere to their drug-taking regimens better than American patients do.

To show what it took in recent years to force down the cost of effective AIDS regimens from $10,000 a year to less than $200 in some countries and to create the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Mr. Behrman takes us into meetings between politicians, grass-roots activists, Christian missionaries, African leaders, generic drug manufacturers and a ”motley crew” of luminaries from Bill Gates to Bono to ex-President Clinton himself. Responding to the advocacy, it was ultimately President George W. Bush, making a ”180-degree turn on global AIDS” in 2002, who rallied Congress to commit billions of dollars to the fight.
etc. etc.Anyhow, as the Times tells us, Clinton is aiming to consolidate his place in history with his AIDS triumph, and he is loving very minute of it:

After he left office, Mr. Clinton considered his future with a keen eye on history, analyzing what former presidents had done…..

In recent years, the fight against AIDS has leapt onto the world stage, claimed by Mr. Clinton and his Republican successor, George W. Bush…(Now) Mr. Clinton is warmly embraced across the developing world.

—œGeorge Bush has actually delivered more resources, but Clinton is ten times more popular in Africa,—? said Princeton Lyman, who was American ambassador to South Africa under Mr. Clinton. —œThat—™s because, just like he does everywhere, he portrays that sense that he cares.—?….

In Johannesburg, Mr. Clinton and a frail Nelson Mandela, about to turn 88, clutched each other—™s hands like a long-lost son and his beloved father.

En route to the airport in Lilongwe, Malawi, where crowds of people strained to catch a glimpse of him, Mr. Clinton suddenly halted the motorcade, conducted an impromptu interview in the middle of the road, then plunged into a throng of young men reaching out to touch him.

At a hospital in Mafeteng, Lesotho, Mr. Clinton strolled into a sunny courtyard with 6-year-old Arriet Moeketsi, a little girl in a polka-dot dress. Arriet, who takes AIDS medicines donated by Mr. Clinton—™s foundation, trustingly leaned her face against the former president and never let go of his hands during a prolonged news conference.

This is a pic of poor Arriet, 6, HIV positive and resting her head on the hand of the man who brought her “life saving” ARVs, in Lesotho’s Mafeteng Hospital.

Bill and Melinda were along, since

The two Bills, as they have been dubbed, have taken to doing high-profile AIDS advocacy events together, with Mr. Clinton bringing star power and Mr. Gates his deep pockets.

—œHe plays a unique role in shining a light on the problem,—? said Mr. Gates.

Anyone who wants to get to Clinton might try Ira Magaziner or Tom Hunter, but good luck with that:

From the start, Mr. Clinton had a host of issues on his agenda, but quickly found himself drawn into AIDS. He turned to his old friend Ira Magaziner, a fellow Rhodes scholar and corporate consultant who had managed the Clintons—™ failed health care reform effort. Mr. Magaziner has since led the foundation—™s AIDS program.

The two men discovered in 2002 that the Bahamas was paying $3,500 per person a year for generic AIDS drugs. —œI said, —˜Ira, please find out why in the hell these people are paying $3,500 for $500 drugs,—™ —? Mr. Clinton said…

Since 2004, Mr. Clinton has campaigned to raise the profile of children with AIDS. A scant 20,000 children in the developing world were then getting drug treatment, while more than 500,000 a year were dying. The Clinton foundation has raised $4.4 million to buy drugs for 13,000 children, train health workers, renovate pediatric wings and pay for lab tests.

—œChildren are alive in numbers we couldn—™t have imagined a couple of years ago because of what he—™s done,—? said Peter McDermott, chief of H.I.V. and AIDS programs at Unicef.

Mr. Clinton—™s ambitions seem to grow daily, and his foundation is now branching out in Africa from AIDS into poverty. As he relaxed one recent evening in a sumptuous, $2,260-a-night suite in Johannesburg, with zebra skin rugs underfoot (the lodgings provided to him gratis by a rich South African businessman who owned the hotel), he got excited just thinking about fertilizer…

Mr. Clinton was joined on his trip by Sir Tom Hunter, a Scottish entrepreneur who has promised to spend $100 million of his fortune in collaboration with the foundation, much of it on economic development.

All in all, a publicity triumph not only for Bill but for the Times, which is thus one more step removed from having to face up to its own abysmal record in misreporting the epi-pandemic for 22 years during which not a single article has been printed in the newspaper of record written and edited by anybody free of the HIV∫AIDS meme.

The New York Times
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August 29, 2006
Clinton Makes Up for Lost Time in Battling AIDS
By CELIA W. DUGGER

RWINKWAVU, Rwanda —” Bill Clinton worked the crowd of AIDS survivors, clasping the outstretched hands of children alive because of the AIDS medicines his foundation donated.

Inside the rural hospital here that he recently helped renovate, where Rwandans were hunted down and killed during the genocide he regrets he didn—™t try to stop as president, Mr. Clinton heard people once skeletal from AIDS tell of their resurrections to robust health.

Since he left office more than five years ago at age 54, one of the youngest former presidents ever, Mr. Clinton has made a lasting mark in a cause that he came to only late in his presidency: fighting the AIDS pandemic across Africa and the world.

Few public figures in America have spawned as much speculation about what motivates them as Mr. Clinton. Abroad, even fewer inspire the affectionate reception Mr. Clinton received as he raced across seven African countries in eight days in July. Crowds at roadsides and in hospitals wanted to touch him —” and he obliged by shaking hands, kissing babies and hugging people with AIDS.

Here on Mr. Clinton—™s fourth visit to Rwanda, it was clear the efforts by his foundation had personal meaning. He said he was sorry his administration failed to intervene during the 1994 genocide. —œThe United States just blew it in Rwanda,—? he said flatly. Paul Kagame, Rwanda—™s president, said he had accepted Mr. Clinton—™s repeated apologies.

But on this trip, Mr. Clinton seemed anything but a man tormented by guilt. Rather, he reveled in his role as a private citizen championing people with AIDS.

—œThe reason I do this work I do is that I really care about politics and people and public policy,—? he said in one of several interviews, scornfully dismissing questions about whether his global AIDS work is a form of redemption for what he failed to accomplish on the issue as president, or for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. —œI—™m 60 years old now, and I—™m not running for anything, so I don—™t have to be polite anymore,—? he said. —œI think it—™s all a bunch of hokum,—? he added, calling such speculation psychobabble.

—œI have never met anybody who spent all their time talking about everybody—™s motives who at the end of their life could talk about very many lives they had saved,—? he said.

Mr. Clinton was adamant that he had done all he could about global AIDS with a Congress hostile to foreign aid, though he conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines.

—˜Everyone Was Worried—™

After he left office, Mr. Clinton faced some skepticism as he took up the cause of people with AIDS dying faraway deaths in poor countries. His administration, which sought more resources to combat AIDS domestically, had a far weaker claim to leadership on AIDS worldwide.

When doctors specializing in public health met him at the William J. Clinton Foundation in Harlem in the fall of 2002, Howard Hiatt, the former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, bluntly asked Mr. Clinton why those present should expect that —œyou—™ll be able to accomplish now what you didn—™t undertake in your presidency —” an attack on this plague?—?

—œEveryone was worried,—? said Richard Marlink, who headed Harvard—™s AIDS Institute. —œIs this a campaign with photo ops and press releases or a long-term commitment?—?

In the years since, doctors at the forefront of AIDS treatment have worked with Mr. Clinton. Dr. Marlink volunteered to help Mr. Clinton—™s foundation in South Africa. Dr. Hiatt, who serves on the board of Partners in Health, a nonprofit group that works with Mr. Clinton in Rwanda, said the former president —œhas really perceived the seriousness of the problem.—?

Mr. Clinton and his foundation have undertaken projects with two dozen developing countries, raising money to post nurses in rural clinics in Kenya, mustering experts to train hospital managers in Ethiopia and buying drugs for thousands of sick children, among other things.

His foundation also has negotiated steep cuts in the price of AIDS medicines through deals with drug companies that cover more than 400,000 patients in dozens of countries, helping propel momentum for treatment of the destitute.

Dr. Bernard Pécoul, who led a campaign for access to medicines for Doctors Without Borders from 1998 to 2003, credited Mr. Clinton and his foundation for showing independence from the politically powerful drug industry and helping to accelerate the decline in prices for generic AIDS medicines in developing countries.

—œThey have been very clever in supporting generic policy in the United States, a country where it—™s not easy,—? he said. —œAnd sometimes they—™ve been even more courageous than the United Nations system, which is under pressure from member states.—?

The Clinton foundation—™s budget last year was $30 million, raised from private donors. Mr. Clinton, who oversees its operations full time, has plunged into many causes, from childhood obesity to tsunami relief to global warming, but he has made his most substantive contribution on AIDS.

He said Rwanda was one of the first countries he chose to work in because —œthey had a really good chance to dig out of the hole and I wanted to help them do it.—?

For years, he tried to coax Dr. Paul Farmer, known for his work caring for the poor in remote, rural Haiti, to recreate his model of AIDS treatment in Africa, the heart of the epidemic.

Last year, Dr. Farmer and the group he co-founded, Partners in Health, arrived in Rwinkwavu. With support from the Clinton Foundation and others, he has transformed a dilapidated facility that lacked even a doctor into a thriving rural hospital.

More than 1,500 people have been put on AIDS medicines here. Reproducing the pioneering model used in Haiti, Dr. Farmer has community workers, many of them peasants, deliver antiretroviral medicines to people with AIDS every day, minimizing reliance on scarce doctors and nurses.

Like most international leaders and American advocates for people with AIDS in the 1990—™s, critics say, Mr. Clinton—™s efforts on global AIDS did not match the epic scale of the human tragedy as it unfolded across Africa and millions died and were orphaned.

In recent years, the fight against AIDS has leapt onto the world stage, claimed by Mr. Clinton and his Republican successor, George W. Bush.

There is a measure of irony in this. Since 2003, Mr. Bush has marshaled billions of dollars in American assistance for a global assault on the disease, financing lifesaving treatment for hundreds of thousands of people with AIDS. Yet because of his foreign policies, notably the war in Iraq, he is often met by protests when he travels abroad, while Mr. Clinton is warmly embraced across the developing world.

—œGeorge Bush has actually delivered more resources, but Clinton is ten times more popular in Africa,—? said Princeton Lyman, who was American ambassador to South Africa under Mr. Clinton. —œThat—™s because, just like he does everywhere, he portrays that sense that he cares.—?

On his recent tour of Africa —” his fifth since 2001 —” Mr. Clinton showed a remarkable ability to establish a human connection with people he met.

In Johannesburg, Mr. Clinton and a frail Nelson Mandela, about to turn 88, clutched each other—™s hands like a long-lost son and his beloved father.

En route to the airport in Lilongwe, Malawi, where crowds of people strained to catch a glimpse of him, Mr. Clinton suddenly halted the motorcade, conducted an impromptu interview in the middle of the road, then plunged into a throng of young men reaching out to touch him.

At a hospital in Mafeteng, Lesotho, Mr. Clinton strolled into a sunny courtyard with 6-year-old Arriet Moeketsi, a little girl in a polka-dot dress. Arriet, who takes AIDS medicines donated by Mr. Clinton—™s foundation, trustingly leaned her face against the former president and never let go of his hands during a prolonged news conference.

Bill and Melinda Gates, the billionaire philanthropists, watched. Mr. Clinton had visited an AIDS project of theirs in Durban, South Africa, and they had come to Lesotho to see his work. When Mr. Clinton left the hospital with Arriet, a Clinton volunteer asked the Gateses to stay back so photographers could follow him.

The world—™s wealthiest couple seemed to take no offense. The two Bills, as they have been dubbed, have taken to doing high-profile AIDS advocacy events together, with Mr. Clinton bringing star power and Mr. Gates his deep pockets.

—œHe plays a unique role in shining a light on the problem,—? said Mr. Gates, after he made it into the courtyard.

Mr. Clinton has come a long way on global AIDS. For most of his presidency, his trade office fought to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against attempts by developing countries to make or import cheaper generic medicines. —œI think it was wrong,—? he now says of that approach.

During the first six years of his presidency, federal spending to fight AIDS worldwide stagnated at paltry levels, never topping $141 million.

But by his last budget, spending more than tripled to $540 million, but Mr. Clinton says that was far from enough. Even so, he contends that no one could have done better.

The Role of Congress

The Democrats controlled Congress for only his first two years in office, he pointed out, when —œeverybody—™s obsession—? was the AIDS problem in America. After that, the Republican-dominated Congress that later supported Mr. Bush—™s $15 billion, five-year global AIDS plan fiercely resisted spending on foreign assistance.

—œHave you forgotten what I had in the Congress?—? he asked. —œThat the Republican Congress spent all their time trying to trash me?

—œAnd the only reason they gave money to George Bush for AIDS is they wanted to have something they looked progressive on since they were cutting taxes for rich people like me,—? he said.

Michael Gerson, who was a senior adviser to Mr. Bush on global health issues, noted that the Republican Congress was, in fact, open to persuasion that global AIDS was a spending priority. But he also said the issue had ripened by the time Mr. Bush was president. The price of antiretroviral drugs fell after Mr. Clinton left office, helping change the view that it was too costly and difficult to treat people in poor countries.

But Mr. Gerson also said of the Clinton record: —œI don—™t believe they were visionary or pushed the system. I don—™t think they were thinking big.—?

The debate over whether Mr. Clinton missed a political opportunity to lead the charge on global AIDS years before Mr. Bush seized it is far from over.

Greg Behrman, the author of —œThe Invisible People: How the U.S. Has Slept Through the Global AIDS Pandemic, the Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe of Our Time,—? offers a split verdict.

—œThere are two acts here,—? he said. —œClinton—™s post-presidential leadership has been extraordinary. As president, though, the record is clear. Clinton was not a leader on global AIDS and the consequences have been devastating.—?

After he left office, Mr. Clinton considered his future with
a keen eye on history, analyzing what former presidents had done.

He concluded that another former Southern governor, Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is now recognized for his work on human rights, democracy and neglected diseases, was —œthe only person who—™d done anything that remotely resembled what I thought I could do.—?

From the start, Mr. Clinton had a host of issues on his agenda, but quickly found himself drawn into AIDS. He turned to his old friend Ira Magaziner, a fellow Rhodes scholar and corporate consultant who had managed the Clintons—™ failed health care reform effort. Mr. Magaziner has since led the foundation—™s AIDS program.

The two men discovered in 2002 that the Bahamas was paying $3,500 per person a year for generic AIDS drugs. —œI said, —˜Ira, please find out why in the hell these people are paying $3,500 for $500 drugs,—™ —? Mr. Clinton said.

They learned the Bahamas was buying through middlemen, so the foundation helped the country purchase directly from Cipla, the Indian generic-drug manufacturer. —œSo our first victory was a lay-down,—? Mr. Clinton said. —œAll of a sudden, they could treat six times as many people for the same amount of money.—?

Opportunities proliferated, and Mr. Clinton—™s enthusiasm grew.

His name opened doors with generic drug makers. With growing demand for AIDS drugs already on the horizon, as well as the economies of scale that come with that, Mr. Magaziner took a team of volunteer consultants to India in 2003 to negotiate for lower prices. Companies opened their books.

—œThe name Clinton in India holds more charisma and credibility than any other American name,—? said Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, Cipla—™s chairman.

Through cost cutting, spurred by breakthrough talks with companies that supplied ingredients to the drug makers, the team got deals. Cipla, for example, halved the price of the most common AIDS triple-drug therapy, already declining due to competition, to $140 a person per year.

Similarly, Mr. Clinton was able to use his relationships with political leaders, like President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who had questioned whether H.I.V. caused AIDS. The country had not begun treating its people for the disease, though almost five million had been infected. —œHe was getting killed in the global press about it,—? Mr. Clinton recalled.

Mr. Clinton, who knew him from his own time as president, met with Mr. Mbeki in 2003 as one politician to another. —œI said, —˜You know, I really want to help you, and as you know, I may be the only one of those involved in this work who—™s never been publicly critical of you,—™ —? Mr. Clinton said he told Mr. Mbeki. —œ —˜But this is something you have to do.—™ —?

Mr. Mbeki soon invited Mr. Clinton—™s foundation to help the country write a comprehensive treatment plan. South Africa now has more than 130,000 people on antiretroviral drugs, still far short of what critics say is needed.

Since 2004, Mr. Clinton has campaigned to raise the profile of children with AIDS. A scant 20,000 children in the developing world were then getting drug treatment, while more than 500,000 a year were dying. The Clinton foundation has raised $4.4 million to buy drugs for 13,000 children, train health workers, renovate pediatric wings and pay for lab tests.

—œChildren are alive in numbers we couldn—™t have imagined a couple of years ago because of what he—™s done,—? said Peter McDermott, chief of H.I.V. and AIDS programs at Unicef.

Mr. Clinton—™s ambitions seem to grow daily, and his foundation is now branching out in Africa from AIDS into poverty. As he relaxed one recent evening in a sumptuous, $2,260-a-night suite in Johannesburg, with zebra skin rugs underfoot (the lodgings provided to him gratis by a rich South African businessman who owned the hotel), he got excited just thinking about fertilizer.

Mr. Magaziner has people riding trains and trucks that carry fertilizer to figure out why a commodity that should enable farmers to grow more food and avoid hunger costs so much in Africa.

—œYou follow the trail!—? Mr. Clinton said.

Mr. Clinton was joined on his trip by Sir Tom Hunter, a Scottish entrepreneur who has promised to spend $100 million of his fortune in collaboration with the foundation, much of it on economic development.

—œTom, where—™s Tom?—? Mr. Clinton called out excitedly as he chatted with representatives of a nonprofit group that promotes solar-powered lights during an event here in Rwinkwavu.

What if Rwanda could manufacture such lights locally? Mr. Clinton mused. Why not electrify villages so children can study at night? —œIt might be possible to get a factory here that would serve all of central Africa!—?In this context it is worth recalling how Abigail Zuger at the Times after the Toronto conference in Fight Against AIDS: Small Triumphs, Sunny Optimism and Grim Reality (Aug 22) noted how impressive it is that such godlike presences as the two Bills and wife Melinda should arrive in their midst to bestow their charisma and powerful blessings upon the less fortunate.

Readers who know what is really going on in HIV∫AIDS must have been excited for a moment when they read the line that ended her third paragraph:

Bill, Bill and Melinda dropped into our world for a few days here. It was an unsettling experience, much like coming home from work to find Mr. Gates regrouting your bathroom shower, Mr. Clinton fixing that broken window, and Mrs. Gates cheerily watering the plants.

Famous strangers were suddenly all over our turf, up on the podium at the International AIDS Conference talking with fluent enthusiasm about adherence and second-line drugs, microbicides and pre-exposure prophylaxis.

If they can make some order in our house, that’s fine. We can certainly use the help. But have they been warned that the foundation is irremediably cracked and leaking?

But it was not the long awaited revelation that there is something theoretically rotten in the house of Gallo, just the useful view that building up the health infrastructure is a vital component of bring health aid to Africa. Well done Abigail!

Once you start taking care of people, there is no end. It takes a real health care system to treat even a single illness; AIDS drugs given without one are, in the end, just very expensive scaffolding.

All they do is let people live long enough to need everything else — TB drugs and decongestants, insulin and hemorrhoid creams, cardiac catheterizations and hip replacements, mosquito netting, malaria pills and polio vaccines. Idealists would point out that food and water, housing, jobs, autonomy and civil rights should probably head that list.


The old generation of AIDS celebrities now often skips this gigantic biennial event. (Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of H.I.V., complained to a Toronto newspaper about the ”circus” atmosphere and the lack of quality science.)

And so this year’s flashing cameras were aimed not at hostile activists and defensive researchers screaming at one another, but at Mr. Clinton and Mr. and Mrs. Gates.

What a pleasant change. This polished threesome may not grasp the more abstruse science of AIDS, but they seem reasonably familiar with the basics. And they are so optimistic as they describe the small triumphs that, thanks to the drugs their money is buying, are now studding the bleak landscape of AIDS in the developing world.

Mr. Gates even told us he sees a ”happy ending” down the line.

It was nice to hear, but those of us who work in the developed world can tell him right now that his project, like the worst nightmare of a home renovation, will not have an end.

With our 10-year head start in disbursing AIDS drugs, we have learned many times over that the drugs are just the beginning. Once they are bought and dispensed, the work only gets harder. Side effects and failures are just part of it. Eventually, inevitably, you have to deal with that leaky foundation — the health care system itself.

AIDS drugs demand an infrastructure. It has taken this country almost 20 years to cobble the first layer together: a network of people trained to administer drugs and watch for problems. At its best now, in states like New York, it functions like a smooth machine, delivering freely available medications, all the necessary tests and probably some of the best, most comprehensive AIDS care in the world.

Still, the beneficence stretches only so far.

And so when patients in our New York clinic need an appendectomy, a cardiac bypass, hernia surgery or a shattered ankle repaired, their wonderful state-sponsored AIDS-specific medical insurance will not pay.

For chemotherapy, a new hip, intensive physical therapy, a prolonged psychiatric hospitalization, cataract surgery, a hearing aid or the services of a good podiatrist, we simply have to cross our fingers and send them out into the fractured disaster that is the rest of our health care system and hope for the best.

Jackie found a breast lump a few years ago. By the time the mammogram had led to the biopsy and to the oncologist and the surgeon and the radiation and the chemotherapy, months had passed with that excruciating slowness familiar to those who know the scheduling habits of overcrowded Medicaid clinics. If the process had taken a few weeks instead of six months, would she have lived?

Bernard never even made it from the neurologist to the neurosurgeon before his brain tumor — a huge one, but not malignant, as it turned out on autopsy — put him into a terminal coma.

Charles, never much for medical care to begin with, gave up after a long afternoon’s wait in the cardiology clinic and just went home. A slightly more forgiving system may have saved his life.

Every one of them had AIDS which we had managed, with huge effort, to get under perfect control. The same goes for dozens of our other patients who have died from drug addiction or depression or even random urban violence.

What a waste, we say, every time.

Once you start taking care of people, there is no end. It takes a real health care system to treat even a single illness; AIDS drugs given without one are, in the end, just very expensive scaffolding.

All they do is let people live long enough to need everything else — TB drugs and decongestants, insulin and hemorrhoid creams, cardiac catheterizations and hip replacements, mosquito netting, malaria pills and polio vaccines. Idealists would point out that food and water, housing, jobs, autonomy and civil rights should probably head that list.

Can Mr. Gates’s billions really begin to pay for a new world? That’s what it will take for his happy ending.

Abigail Zuger, who writes regularly for The Times, is a physician in Manhattan.
Barack and wife test negative in Kenya

Meanwhile the Great Black Hope of the Democratic party, the silver tongued Barack Obama has also been touring Africa and on Saturday (Aug 26) he capped his visit, wildly cheered by crowds everywhere he went, by taking an HIV test in Kenya, with his wife.

According to the science, Obama could have been in the very small fraction of the non gay US population which is HIV positive not through heterosexual adventurism (doesn’t transmit HIV at all, according to the biggest study) but perinatally ie through his umbilical cord at birth.

No such luck. Both tested negative. One lingers on the vision of what would have happened if either had tested positive, however. Retesting would have been hasty, but supposing that had been positive too.

Then perhaps Barack Obama would have taken a second and more penetrating look as to what was going on in this scientifically compromised arena, where the peer reviewed literature tells us that HIV is a mere pussy cat of a virus, and that drugs and nutrients are the cause and cure of the syndrome.

Then he might have conferred more profitably with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, still the only politician and statesman of international stature who is capable of reading the NIAID censored critique of HIV?AIDS for himself and demanding answers to the obvious outrages to common sense.

On Sunday, he visited a program to start small businesses, and also stopped by an AIDS prevention program in Kibera. The program is affiliated with the University of North Carolina and he met with students who are part of local abstinence campaigns. The group, called Carolina for Kibera, estimates one in five of the slum’s population is HIV positive.

AIDS prevention has been a theme of Obama’s visit. On Saturday, he and his wife, Michelle, underwent public HIV tests at a hospital in Kenyan city of Kisumu in an effort to reduce the public stigma associated with HIV testing.

But if politics is the art of the possible, who can blame Obama, Clinton, or for that matter Greg Behrman, if they ever did look into the situation and see it for what it really is, and take no action? This is no longer a matter of a scientific correction that might save a lot of lives. It is a huge political and economic juggernaut which will crush any politician or author who stands in its way, unless and until the tipping point is somehow reached in the world of ideas, where madmen scribbling sometimes change the world of action.

But even though the editors of Harpers have distinguished themselves historically by taking the first all important step of bringing the topic into the mainstream of political debate, given the countervailing power of the forces of celebrity, commercial interests, institutional inertia, media and electoral politics and mental inertia on the part of most people involved, there may be a long way to go before that tipping point is reached.

At this stage, however, every voice raised against the status quo is important, however, particularly on the Web. So every reader is encouraged to contribute to Comments here and to spread the word on our behalf. And to those that have done so already, many thanks.

See Obama Visits Notorious Slum in Nigeria

August 27, 2006
Obama Visits Notorious Slum in Nigeria
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 6:20 p.m. ET

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Sen. Barack Obama visited one of the world’s worst slums Sunday, where he told residents he wants everyone in America to know about their plight and promised to push the U.S. and Kenyan government to help.

About a third of Nairobi’s total population, at least 700,000 people, are crammed into a single square mile in the slum of Kibera, with little access to running water and other basic services.

”I love all of you, my brothers — all of you, my sisters” Obama told a crowd in Kibera. ”I want to make sure everybody in American knows Kibera. That’s why we have all the news crews.”

The Illinois Democrat arrived in Kenya Thursday for his first visit to his father’s homeland since taking office.

On Sunday, he visited a program to start small businesses, and also stopped by an AIDS prevention program in Kibera. The program is affiliated with the University of North Carolina and he met with students who are part of local abstinence campaigns. The group, called Carolina for Kibera, estimates one in five of the slum’s population is HIV positive.

AIDS prevention has been a theme of Obama’s visit. On Saturday, he and his wife, Michelle, underwent public HIV tests at a hospital in Kenyan city of Kisumu in an effort to reduce the public stigma associated with HIV testing.

”Everybody in Kibera needs the same opportunities to go to school, to start businesses, to have enough to eat, to have decent clothes,” Obama said over a megaphone as hundreds of cheering people surrounded him.

The slum stands in sharp contrast to the elegant homes, luxurious hotels and impressive office buildings found elsewhere in the city. Kibera residents are mostly squatters, with no legal claim on the land.

Kenyans have claimed Obama as one of their own, even though he was mostly raised in Hawaii and did not know his Kenyan father well.

Obama’s father, also named Barack, grew up herding goats and going to tin-roof schools, but he won a college scholarship in Hawaii. There, he married Obama’s mother. The two soon separated, however, and Obama’s father eventually returned to Kenya and worked as a government economist.

His father died in a car crash in 1982, leaving three wives, six sons and a daughter.

Earlier Sunday, Obama flew to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya near the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia. The area is at the epicenter of a severe drought that has hit the Horn of Africa region after erratic and insufficient rains during the April-June season.

Malnutrition levels in parts of the northeastern province are more than double the 15 percent level at which an emergency is declared by U.N. standards.

Obama said he inspected a project to help prevent disease among the herds of cattle, goats and camels raised by the region’s Muslim herders.

He also learned about efforts to resolve conflicts among local clans, which he said is important for preventing the violence and turmoil in neighboring countries.

Obama and his family traveled Saturday to Nyangoma-Kogelo, a tiny village in the rural west where his father grew up. Obama stopped at his father’s grave and also visited his 85-year-old grandmother.Obama Gets a Warm Welcome in Kenya

The New York Times
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August 26, 2006
Obama Gets a Warm Welcome in Kenya
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug. 25 —” If Senator Barack Obama is ever thinking of running for president —” or changing careers to rock star —” he got excellent practice in Nairobi on Friday.

Thousands of people lined the streets, waiting hours in the intense sunshine just for a glimpse of him.

Local newspapers overflowed with breathless coverage, including the headline, —œVillage beats the drums for returning son.—?

Everywhere he went he had to part seas of shutter-snapping journalists and mobs of ecstatic fans.

A riot nearly broke out when he slipped past his bodyguards at a downtown event and simply smiled at the crowd.

—œObaaammmaaaa!—? the people yelled.

Mr. Obama, a freshman Democratic senator from Illinois, was in Kenya—™s capital on Friday as part of a tightly scripted four-country tour in Africa to raise awareness for AIDS and to reconnect with his roots.

His father was a goat herder-turned-economist from western Kenya and, though Mr. Obama was never close to him or spent much time in Kenya, many Kenyans claim him as one of their own.

—œHe—™s our lion,—? said George Mimba, a computer consultant, after shaking Mr. Obama—™s hand.

—œHe will help us,—? said Bob Osano, a marketing agent stuck behind a metal barricade.

Schools in western Kenya have been renamed for Mr. Obama. Unofficially, so has a popular brand of beer.

All week, people near Nyangoma-Kogelo, the village where Mr. Obama—™s father grew up, were scrambling to prepare a welcome fit for royalty, fixing roads, practicing skits and ironing their Obama T-shirts.

On Saturday, Mr. Obama plans to visit the village and sit in a tin-roof house with his grandmother, who speaks no English and will be waiting for the rising Democratic statesman with an egg, apparently a grandmother-grandson tradition in these parts. He also plans to take an H.I.V. test in public to help promote awareness of the virus.

Mr. Obama seems to be many things to people here: a role model; a black man succeeding in a white man—™s world (he is the only African-American in the United States Senate); a friend in a high place; and the embodiment of American opportunity and multiculturalism (his mother is white and from Kansas). In Kenya, people who are half-white and half-black are called —œpoint fives.—?

Wycliffe Muga, a local commentator, said the backdrop to the excitement was that many Kenyans are fed up with their own leaders and the country—™s persistently high levels of corruption and crime. They place their hopes in outsiders like Mr. Obama, who they think will help from abroad.

—œCall it the donor mentality,—? Mr. Muga said. —œPeople are saying, —˜We have a senator now; we have a man in power.—™ They forget he is a U.S. senator representing the state of Illinois.—?

It was a point Mr. Obama had to make when he was asked at a news conference on Friday about lowering American subsidies on farm produce so African farmers could compete.

He responded that many of his constituents were soybean farmers. —œIt—™s important to me to be sure I—™m looking out for their interests,—? he said. —œIt—™s part of my job.—?

Mr. Obama, who sits on the Senate subcommittee for African affairs, used the news conference to show off his fluency in all things African.

He said —œZimbabweans were ill served—? by their dictatorial president, Robert G. Mugabe. He spoke of the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, saying, —œWe—™re on the verge of an enormous humanitarian crisis.—?

Regarding Kenya, he talked about his meetings earlier in the day with President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta.

He praised Kenya—™s lack of major ethnic conflict and its history of clean elections. But he added, —œYou—™re starting to see the reassertion of ethnic identity as the basis for politics,—? which he said was not good.

Before arriving in Kenya, Mr. Obama visited South Africa, where he met with apartheid-era freedom fighters and people with AIDS. After five days in Kenya, he will travel to Chad to speak with refugees from nearby Darfur, and to Djibouti, where American forces are stationed in a counterterrorism operation.

Of course, he could not escape Beltway politics, even 7,500 miles away.

One Kenyan journalist, after a long preamble on the virtues of the American Constitution, asked him, —œWhat will you do to liberate Congress from the White House?—?

Mr. Obama threw a few jabs at the Bush administration for not consulting lawmakers enough and vowed, —œYou—™re going to see a change in the balance of power soon.—?

And then came the questions everybody wanted to ask: Does he harbor presidential ambitions? If so, will he run for president in 2008?

—œI don—™t know what to do with these two questions,—? Mr. Obama said, cracking a toothy grin.

—œThe day after my election to the United States Senate, somebody asked me, am I running in 2008. I said at that time: —˜no.—™

—œAnd nothing so far,—? he said, ever so slightly stressing those last two words, —œ has changed my mind.—?

10 Responses to “Clinton, Obama mining Africa for PR gold”

  1. Martin Kessler Says:

    I guess in order to be an electible politician these days, with respect to AIDS, you must fall in line. It’s sad, but if these politicians were more in line with the thinkers of this website, they would probably be in the “gun”-sites of the pharmaceutical mega-corporations.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Yes, you are so right. But that is rather like saying every politician is forced to consult the polls as to what to do next. The truth is politicians should educate the public if necessary. Of course, that era may be over, now that newspapers are on their way out. But perhaps YouTube will allow them to make their case without interruption soon. Perhaps we will have a world where political figures can address the multitude more effectively than ever before, if the attention span of those interested can support it.

    David Rasnick has brought back a 3.5 GB DVD of an hour long debate on Big Question, a South African show, that he and Sam Mlongo had a year ago, and it will be up on YouTube or somewhere similar shortly. Perhaps some historic US TV appearances of Duesberg etc can be transferred from tape top the desktop screen.

    Video on the Web may be the giant killer the dissenters have always sought. Once you see Fauci in action you don’t grant him automatic authority in anything. We intend to put some up here when some helpful person tells us how. We made a video of Fauci at a New York New School panel a few months ago that shows him totally out of date on the very mainstream literature he is financing.

  3. Martin Kessler Says:

    Dr. David Rasnick is one of my favorites, he is so articulate and impressive. No wonder why public debates between Rasnick and Duesberg and big name AIDS “scientists” don’t take place on American soil – they would be unmasked – but even more so, the establishment as has been pointed out in this website and other writings, to give the best disident scientists a public forum would be “admitting” that they have a valid point of view.

    Back to politicians, an aphorism by Thomas Szasz: During a political campaign, you may hear some truth by a politician usually about his (or her) opponent. After the politician is elected, they have no further interest in telling the truth. The best politicians seem to play both sides against the middle and seemingly are able to disguise their tactic so well, the average voter does not notice or at least does not prevent them from voting for them. Bill Clinton was one of the best at this – a plolitican par excellence – but we need leaders not politicians.

  4. Orwell's Ghost Says:

    Speaking of the recent activities of the forty-second president, on August 31, 2006, Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) issued a “public policy intelligence report” on the future of the HIV/AIDS war, especially in light of the new and expanding role of Bill Clinton and his Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The 2,600-word report is titled “Activist Messaging: CGI and a Moment of Transition.” A copy of it can be read at this url: http://www.angelfire.com/blog/mythbust/cgi083106.html

    Here is an excerpt:

    “The International AIDS Conference, the largest gathering of scientists and policymakers discussing HIV/AIDS, recently concluded its biennial conference — dubbed AIDS 2006 — in Toronto. A much smaller and newer group, the Clinton Global Initiative, will host its second annual event Sept. 20-22 in New York City. CGI 2006 will be an invitation-only event intended to bring influential and wealthy people — star CEOs, celebrities and former and current heads of state — together with activists. The objective is for each participant to make a defined commitment in at least one of four social categories: global public health, energy and climate change, poverty, and religious and ethnic conflict.

    “These two gatherings, occurring in the 25th year since scientists first began to grapple with HIV/AIDS, represent the sunset of one grand activist strategy and the dawn of another. The first strategy, which was evident at the AIDS 2006 event, has sought to transform the world by appealing to a sense of moral obligation, and has relied primarily on governments to be the agents of change. The second strategy, pioneered by CGI and others, seeks to transform the world by appealing to a sense of personal empowerment, and is looking primarily to corporations as the agents of change.

    “Ultimately, these two strategies likely will blend into a third approach that combines elements of both obligation and inspiration. This third approach will be heavily shaped by new views, still evolving, on corporations’ responsibilities in preserving human rights.”

  5. Truthseeker Says:

    Incredible find, thanks. Who better to lead public policy and the march to dealing with HIV∫AIDS than big corporate chieftains, who have such practical objectives, and are so clear headed about achieving them?

    Maybe we will drop in and see if we can pick up a copy of the report on The Economic Outlook for Labor in Africa and Asia When ARVs are Fully Delivered to 60 Million positives.

  6. HankBarnes Says:

    The hell with a simple HIV (antibody) test — maybe Senator Obama should really step it up and take some daily AZT — as a prophylactic. As part Kenyan, he certainly is in a “risk group” for developing AIDS;)

    Hank Barnes

  7. Martin Kessler Says:

    Mr. Obama took an HIV test as an act of political opportunism – that’s what politicians do – why hadn’t he taken it before if he believed it was important to take? Maybe he has realized (only to himself) that the real non-risky behavior groups which he is a member would probably come out clean as a whistle anyway. Again Obama couldn’t get elected by taking a stand against the AIDS establishment.

  8. Dan Says:

    including a picture from Rwanda of John Gumiriza, restored to health and standing by a photo taken of him in skeletal condition in 2005, “before he started taking antiretroviral drugs, which have been provided to him and others at reduced cost.”

    Persuasive evidence indeed, for most readers, right before their eyes, for the blessings of ARVs aimed at the dire threat of HIV, unless it occurs to them that perhaps adequate food was included in the package.

    That’s some great propaganda, and it’s just the sort of thing that keeps us from questioning. Who can argue with the “obvious”? But are we getting the whole picture? Probably not.

    Now, why is it that Africans seem so peculiarly prone to wasting from “HIV”? Is this a common symptom of “HIV infection”? Or is it just a symptom of untreated “HIV infection? Maybe some of our more astute paradigm defenders can help us with this one.

    I have to say, if there’s one image that will take cement this thing in, it’s a picture of somebody with dark skin who’s lying in a hospital bed and/or wasting away.

    If wasting is a common symptom of untreated “HIV infection”, then it seems that would be the easiest way to find all those folk in the U.S. that are “positive”, but don’t know it. Look for the emaciated person. My bets are on Maria Shriver.

  9. noreen martin Says:

    Dan, great observation about all of us wasting away out here. I’m not on the meds and am quite robust. Lets show the world that we HIV/AIDS/NON-PROGRESSORS are doing extremely well. Anyone that would be interested in appearing in an HIV Rethinkers Calendar, please contact me.

  10. Orwell's Ghost Says:

    The following may have some relevance to the discussion here.

    A news release from the British Medical Journal reports that snobbery over aid projects is preventing charitable groups from working together in developing countries according to a doctor in this week’s (Sept. 2, 2006) British Medical Journal.

    Daniel Magnus, a senior house officer at Southmead Hospital in Bristol describes the Kenyan Orphan Project – a small group started by him and two friends that sends doctors, nurses and medical students to Kenya to help with health, education, and social welfare programmes. . .

    “We have observed in that time a persistent and insidious phenomenon which is essentially aid snobbery,” he writes.

    The problem is that aid and development work is big business, and in the arguments and snobbery and wrangling over who is more sensitive to the local culture or having the least negative effects on the local economy, all cooperation and collaboration is lost, he says.

    “As we have seen worldwide, organisations end up repeating and overlapping their aid and development initiatives to the tune of millions of dollars.”

    The BMJ article by Daniel Magnus, “The sour taste of aid snobbery,” can be read for free on page three of the PDF available at this

    http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/september/pv503.pdf

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